Establishing a Pride Hub has been a priority at San Diego City College, but without students on campus for most of the last two years, they haven’t yet been able to benefit from the effort to make it happen.
That’s about to change, as City College readies the center for a formal opening, and positions it on campus as a resource that the LGBTQIA community may not have known about due to the ongoing pandemic.
Virtual activities have been taking place, and the center unofficially opened this spring, but as classes fill again, Adan Sanchez, the acting dean of Student Affairs, wants to make sure students and faculty know the Pride Hub is available for them as a “first-stop shop” as they look for a home at City College.
“We definitely want to be a resource both for students and the campus,” he said.
The hub, in the L Building, Room 207, is part of the Intercultural Centers, “identity specific” spaces set aside on campus for six communities, including LGBT+, women, veterans, formerly incarcerated students, first-generation students, and Dreamers, the term used for undocumented children brought to the U.S. and raised here.
A working group has been overseeing the launch of the Pride Hub, which will be shared with the women’s center, known as the Womxn’s Hub.
Ashley Burch, a support technician for the NextUp Program, is part of the group, which shared discussions that led to a high-profile profile event, the Lavender Graduation, also known as Lav Grad.
The inaugural ceremony at City College, which took place May 12 at Curran Plaza, celebrated eight LGBT+ grads in front of nearly 40 family and friends, just as more intimate ceremonies are available to mark the graduations of Black, Latinx, and other students.
Burch recalls that Lav Grad came up almost spontaneously among the working group and just as quickly everyone agreed that City College should host one. And word spread fast, even to Mesa College. Mesa’s valedictorian participated, as City College is the first of the campuses in the San Diego Community College District to host a Lav Grad.
“It was beautiful and I’ve only heard good things since then,” Burch said.
One unexpected result? Several people who attended the ceremony expressed interest in joining the working group to help with the Pride Hub launch and future events.
The hub continues to take shape – Burch pronounced it “pretty awesome,” with donated artwork and books already there for students to enjoy.
“It definitely does feel like a pride space in there,” she said.
The next step, Burch said, is for students to take ownership of the hub, “feel like it’s theirs and be comfortable and make it a safe space.”
Photos from Lav Grad can be viewed here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzPPQH
Established in 1914, San Diego City College serves as the educational cornerstone of downtown San Diego. A 60-acre urban campus, City College serves more than 16,000 students, offering 200 majors and degrees and 1,800 classes. City College is part of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), the second-largest of California’s 72 community college districts, which also includes Mesa College, Miramar College, and Continuing Education. For more information, visit www.sdcity.edu.
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